General, Marketing with Mansfield

“Pic” It Like You Mean It

True story. Pre-Covid ever Saturday there was a farmers’ market in downtown Riverhead, N.Y. In the spring, summer and fall it was lovely. The vendors all had pop-up tents along the Peconic Riverwalk and, having been to farmers’ markets from Florida to Hawaii, I can honestly say that this was the prettiest farmers’ market I had ever been to.

In the winter, not so much. The winter location for the Farmers’ Market was an old, abandoned looking storefront on Main Street. The winter location and vibe was the exact opposite of the summer location and vibe. You could not entice me to go down there on Saturday morning. No way, no how.

BUT, one wintry Saturday I was down there bright and early. Why????

Carrot cake.

Image by Farooq Sharif from Pixabay

I can say without hesitation that I would never have left my couch on Saturday morning if I had READ all about Rosie’s carrot cake. I’m not one of those “carrot cake or die” type people. There are no words even the most talented writer could have written that would have motivated me to drive down there.


My niece is six. There are literally thousands of photos of her (because she’s adorable but, also) because it is so easy to take them. So I don’t want to hear any excuses about how difficult it is to take pictures for marketing purposes. Anyone with a (camera) phone can take a picture. Take several thousand pictures. You know you take pictures all the time for fun. Take them – at work – for work! Show your potential customers what they are missing out on. Show your current customers how smart they are for choosing YOU.

Please put some thought into those photos. Don’t just snap a photo of a prosthesis standing over in the corner by itself. The reason the carrot cake picture “worked” on me was because it looked amazingly delicious. Rosie knew what she wanted that photo to convey. What do you want your marketing photos to convey about your business? (If you do want to take pictures of prostheses standing by themselves, please make sure they are wearing clean shoe(s) and sock(s).

When I go to the doctor, I don’t necessarily want to see what the doctor is going to do to me while I’m there but I sure don’t mind seeing a photo of the doctor’s smiling staff, clean office and happy (implying satisfied) patients. Plastic surgeons? They NEVER show you just the after. They always show you the before and after. Think about that.

Do you have “carrot cake” pictures of your business? No? Get busy taking those pics!

General, Marketing with Mansfield, Uncategorized

April is Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month

#LLAM #LimbLossAwareness

Every April since…2010 the Amputee Coalition has celebrated April as the Limb Loss (and now includes) Limb Difference Awareness month.

per Heathline“One of the biggest tools we have to fight health conditions is the power of human connection. That’s why health awareness months, weeks, and days are so important: They rally us together to spread awareness and show support.”

How are you spreading awareness and showing support this month? Let me know!


The Email Secret Marketer’s Don’t Want You to Know!

Hint. It’s all about making a mistake!

I have a collection of “oops” emails that I keep in a folder in my inbox. I would like to share some with you. “Oops – Corrected Date/Time Inside: Best Practices for Content Marketing Webinars” is one. I received it from Chief Marketer, a content marketing company in Connecticut. “We forgot something…” from a company that, believe it or not, sells magazines. “Oops! There’s been a slight mistake” from Thrifty Car Rental. “Oops!” from IKEA. “Oops! 5-Star Cupcakes We Couldn’t Wait to Share” from Betty Crocker. There a lot more, most with some type of “oops” or “apologies” in the subject line.

Embarrassing … or smart?
I do not know what you think, but I think that IKEA, Thrifty Car Rental and Betty Crocker have pretty sophisticated marketing departments, staff, teams and/or consultants. Of course, the people who work there are just that, people, and we all know that humans make mistakes. What if I told you that not all of those “oops” emails were mistakes – would you be surprised?

Email recipients click on these emails because they are either curious or genuinely interested in figuring out whether the sender’s mistake is going to have an effect on them.

I think it is pretty obvious that a “Best New Cupcake Recipes” email might not appeal to everyone but that an “Oops! We left out a key ingredient” might garner a higher open rate. Either you opened it the first time and are curious what you might have missed the first time, or you saw it, ignored it and are now curious about the mistake Betty made.

I hope you do not think that I am encouraging you to send out digital correspondence with mistakes on purpose. I most certainly am not. I hope you do not think that I am advising you to send out these emails if you made a stupid mistake that a reasonable person can clearly see was a mistake. Take the date for example.

One of my pet peeves about email newsletter programs is that even though they love to have a date section, one which often stands alone, the section does not update automatically. It seems to me that should be an easy programming fix. Even Microsoft Word knows how to fill in the current date once you start typing. Anyway, my point is that sending out an email newsletter with a November date in the middle of March is CLEARLY a mistake. Especially if everything else in the email is timely. If that happens, you do not waste an “oops.” You just move on. Address it if you want to in the next issue but do not waste people’s time sending them an email over something like an incorrect header date or a simple spelling error.

What does constitute a reason for sending an “oops” email?

Something that has the potential to have a negative impact on the recipient:

Broken link – this is a big deal.
Day or date of an event mistake – definitely send one.
Venue mistake – of course.
Incorrect directions – absolutely.
Sent the email to the wrong list – HURRY!
So you made a legitimate, oops-worthy mistake. Do not fret. The silver lining is that your apology email will probably outperform your original email.

Just do not be that person that cried “Oops!”

Got a good “Oops” email I can add to my inbox, I mean, filing system? Send it to me!

Update – April 8, 2021

Marketing with Mansfield

Who Doesn’t Like Pi(e)?

March 14th is Pi Day. Maybe you knew that or maybe you did not. I’m not sure how you could avoid knowing it. It’s. Such. A. Thing. Now. I’m getting emails and more emails (I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters, if you can believe it, winky face) about the upcoming 3/14/21 Pi Day. I do not remember Pi Day being a “thing” when I was growing up but I sure do know it’s a thing now.

Mmmmmm pie

A couple years I go or as we say now, “pre-pandemic” I got up early just to make sure I got to the Riverhead Farmer’s Market before they ran out of pie. (How could they not? This was Pi Day after all!) The vendors at this farmer’s market are pretty savvy with their marketing. I am not being facetious. They glom onto whatever holiday and/or celebration day that occurs and use that in their on-site marketing. The market itself has an active Facebook page and its #1 goal is to get people to come down to the market on Saturday. So, armed with the local dairy’s empty glass milk bottles from the previous week’s market, I headed excitedly to the market.

Missed opportunity

Right inside the door was the baker’s stand. No pie was there. What…?????????

“Oh, I did not even know it was Pi Day,” she said. “I guess I should have brought some pies.” (You think?!) Over to the other bakery stall. There was still no pie. Seriously? Do bakers not have a calendar? How do you not even have a pie available for sale on Pi Day? Passed the bread guy who conveniently sells what I would have called for the day pizza “pies.” Did he? No. Quickly over to the Greek Restaurant guy who always has people standing in line for his spanakopita for a good reason. It is unbelievably delicious. It is yummy spinach pie. Is he in on the whole pi/pie thing? Nope. Took the empty milk bottles back to the dairy booth. What goes better with pie than anything else? Milk. This milk is so good that we have started bringing milk to parties instead of wine because weeks later people are still talking about the milk and I do not remember a single time ever when people were talking for weeks about a particular bottle of wine. Does the dairy lady have any signage addressing the “got pie, get milk” or anything to that effect? No.

Pizza pie

Awareness is key

MAJOR marketing FAIL at the Farmer’s Market for Pi Day. Off to the fish market down the road where we bought a lovely piece of salmon and….a clam pie. I told the girl at the counter, “You know it is Pi Day, right?” Of course she did not but I was pretty happy that I had finally gotten a pie for Pi Day even though I consider it a huge disappointment from a marketing standpoint.

Your turn. What days, celebrations or “things” are you missing out on? I saw on Facebook recently that it was National Sibling Day. I know a couple O&P practices that are owned by siblings. You know who you are. This is a great opportunity to get a little extra publicity, especially when in this day and age you do not even need a newspaper story to have something go viral. So, get busy researching “Pi Day-esque” things and see how you can use that to your marketing advantage this year!

Got a Pi Day story? Let me know!

General, Marketing with Mansfield

Spread the Love!

Welcome 2021! 2020 was an unhappy year. World turmoil and weather catastrophes and COVID-19…death, destruction, and despair. It’s been a tough time. I think the nice thing about February is that it brings us Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to give all your “fans” some virtual love.

Who should you “hug”?

Now is the perfect time to spend some quality time with data and analytics — time to decide how you want to thank all your stakeholders for being there for you this past year. Messages of thanks are always appreciated, but who do you usually thank?

Back in the day, we made sure our referral sources were acknowledged and felt appreciated. That was a different time when referral sources were actually sources of referrals and not constrained by insurance directives, contracts, networks or whatever else gets in the way of a direct referral. Yes, referral sources still exist and you should make sure you send them some love.

Staff, patients and vendors

You cannot do what you do every day if you do not have the support of your staff. Make sure they know that. I am a big fan of the “celebrate us” day off of work. Even if you cannot manage to close the whole office for a day, why not have a barbecue, catered lunch or a post-work event specifically designed to thank your coworkers?

Thank your patients. Let’s be real. If you are in patient care, the only reason you have a job is because there are patients who need care. We get caught up in the drama of providing services to others and the toll the bureaucracy and battle for reimbursement can take on our spirit. It can be easy to forget that as difficult as our days might be, we are beholden to our patients.

Patient appreciation days are fun. Who does not want to be appreciated? Everyone wants to be appreciated! If the thought of putting together a socially-distanced, masked, outdoor event is too much, why not send cards — actual cards that are signed by everyone in the office? You can always send a “Happy Valentine’s Day” card since everyone is eligible to receive a Valentine’s Day card and you do not have to worry about offending anyone or leaving out someone.

Thank your vendors, manufacturers, suppliers and sales reps. If you have never been on the selling end of O&P and you think you get beat up by insurance companies and payers all day long, then you have never ridden with, or been, a sales rep.

I have been involved in O&P since 1987. I can tell you with certainty that we have some of the nicest, most helpful sales professionals around. While you may expect them to thank you for your business, how about you tell them how much you appreciate their support, too?

February and Valentine’s Day always provide a great opportunity to start the year off right and show some appreciation. What are you going to do say thanks? Let me know!